Jennings J22....

Discussion in '.22-Rimfire Forum' started by Slabsides, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

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    ...go ahead and knock 'em. I like them. I had one years ago and had no trouble out of it. I finally found another one and promptly dropped 150 rounds through it no problem. The first 20 or so I fired through it was as I had recieved it....looked like it had NEVER been cleaned and not a drop of oil in it. It gobbled up every round.

    I took it to the local range today and shot this group at 7yds.
    [​IMG]

    People just looked at it and said "that's not supposed to happen":D

    I like my little pocket auto. My backup has a backup now.:cool:
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  2. GatorDude

    GatorDude New Member

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    That's pretty cool. I've often wondered how a gun like that would do in .22 caliber. For a plinker, it might just be pretty cool.
  3. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    I also like the J-22. About ten years ago Guns and Ammo ran an article on which was better in semi autos, .25 ACP caliber or .22 LR. They used a J-22 for the .22 LR caliber and a Beretta with a tip-up barrel for the .25 ACP. It was either 300 or 500 rounds used in the test. Both guns finished the test with no failure to fire, failure to eject, or otherwise fail. I bought a J-22 used, it malfunctioned, I took it all apart, it was filthy. I cleaned it thoroughly and oiled it. From then on no problems with it. shoots like a champ. It's not a self defense gun due to the caliber but a lot of fun to shoot.
  4. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    WARNING!! Slabsides

    The Jennings J-22 is a lot better design than most people opine it to be. I have much more than a little experience with them. The pistol pictured (with smooth wood grips) is indicative pistols in the 70,000 serial # range.

    The serial # is usually on the backstrap. If your is under about 90,000 you have a pistol that was likely made with a defective design slide. It will require a new design slide and firing pin to be safe.

    I can provide more details if your pistol is in the suspect serial # range.
  5. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

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    Mine has a number in the 300,000's. What was wrong with the older ones? I Googled "jennings j22 defective slide" and can find nothing. (the wierd thing is, this very post shows up as first hit..thats fast).
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  6. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Early Jennings J-22 pistols through serial #72000 had slides that were of a design that did not have sufficient material between the breech face recess and the forward end of the striker channel (web). Jennings discovered this by serial #90,000 and had changed the design of the slide and striker (firing pin). I do not believe they ever recalled the pistols with the potentially dangerous (defective design) slides.

    The early J-22's tended to "close up" headspace and become dangerous at between about 300 and 1K shots. I had one go "full auto" on a cold winter day (about 23 years ago) using promotional Federal ammo with sensitive priming. This pistol in the 70K # range had an estimated 550 total (300 to 800) total shots fired in it. Close examination revealed that headspace had closed up from heavier than normal use (for a pistol of this type) to less than 0.041", and was causing intermittent slam fires.

    I contacted Jennings via telephone, and they sent a replacement new design slide, but no new design striker (firing pin) for it. I ended up modifying the original striker (on a lathe) to make its firing pin long enough to work with the new slide. The difference in firing pin protrusion from the striker face seems to be about 0.040" to 0.050", as best I can measure today.

    As I never worked for them, I am not privy to exactly when the slide design change (or subsequent possible changes) took place.

    Based on what I have observed, a J-22 with an "old design" slide will have a firing pin on the front face of the striker that is less than 0.120" long. Pistols in the 90K # range have firing pin length of nominal 0.160" long to be able to reach through the thicker web of the newer design slide. This measurement and determination can easily be made with a $15 Harbor Freight electronic caliper, or similar tool.

    If you have a J-22 with a thin web slide, the slide and striker (firing pin) need to be replaced as a matter of safety. If the pistol is fired much, the headspace is likely to close enough to make the pistol dangerous to handle with a round in the chamber.

    I hold the opinion that George Jennings got "shafted" in the now infamous Bryco .380 lawsuit. I also hold the opinion that many of the products of his design were unnecessarily poorly made, and that a potentially dangerous product ( to wit: the early J-22's were not recalled).

    I quit selling Jennings designed products by 1989. Today, I still own several; but will destroy rather than sell one. Lawsuits are not pleasant things; and competent lawyers do not work cheap.
  7. Teejay9

    Teejay9 New Member

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    Slabsides, is that stainless or nickel or chrome? Looks nicer with the wood grips. What was the price range? TJ
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    The slide, frame, trigger, and take down button on a J-22 are likely Zamack #2 (SAE 902) die cast alloy; unless they used a cheaper Zinc based material.

    J-22's were apparently not made and marketed in stainless steel, as it is a more expensive casting process.

    J-22 quality was "all over the map". My 72K serial # pistol had a well rifled but soft steel barrel. {It's about beyond economical repair at 3000 shots.} While it never was any S&W M41 or HS or Ruger Mark II Target, my lifetime 25 yard Bullseye Timed and Rapid Fire average with it is better than 164/200 (82%). {It has made me some "chump money" on several occasions in years past, having some "chump" bet that one could not score 140/200 (70%) with it on a NRA B-8 target at 25 yards timed Fire.}

    I have had other (later made) J-22's that were so poorly rifled that they threw "keyholes" at all ranges beyond 5 yards. Still, they shot much better than one would expect out to about 33' (11 yards; 10 meters).
  9. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

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    Mine is chrome plated. The material is zinc alloy from what I have read. Makes sense because this little guy is heavy for such a small pistol. Price from what I have seen is $50-$70 and down.

    These are by no means fine weapons out of the box, but you can make them reliable. New ones have rough edges and protrusions in the inner works from casting leftovers. What I have done to the ones in the past as well as this one is to sand down any obvious protrusions then run some rounds through it and disassemble it for inspection. Look for rub marks and carefully sand problem areas until contact marks are even down the entire part.

    Another way to match the slide is to color the contact surfaces of the slide and reciever with a marker and cycle the slide several times then take it down and you will see where contact is being made. Sand down the areas where the marker was rubbed off and repeat until marker is rubbed down the entire contact length.

    Taking the extractor out and lightly filing the catch at a slight angle to make it more hook-like helps eliminate failure-to-extract issues.

    Once some hand finishing and slight improvements are done, these are actually pretty decent little pistols. They just dont work so well out of the box. The design is simple and solid, its the craftmanship that is lacking.

    Of interesting note: After Jennings tanked, a man named Jimenez bought the company and produces then under the name Jimenez Arms (model JA22) I do not know about the quality of these as I have not had my hands on one. http://www.jimenezarmsinc.com/22lr.htm Price is around $99 new.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  10. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    The Jennings design was a good one, to keep the cost down some of the materials used to manufactured the guns where not the highest grade. The parts will wear faster than compatable guns. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can have a good little inexpensive gun that will wear out faily fast or a expensive little gun that will last a life time. MO
  11. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

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    There are exceptions to every rule....the VW Beetle proved that.

    I am not claiming the J22 to be the Beetle of the gun world, but they can be decent for the $$. As cheap as they are, you could literally throw it away and buy another if it fails. In no way would I carry one as a primary, or even a backup if it was seen high useage. Any comparable sized pocket auto by a name brand manufacturer would cost at least 3 times as much....and there's no guarantee that it would never fail on you.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  12. Gavin

    Gavin New Member

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    Im having some trouble with my j22 when I fire it the cartrige will not eject therfore making it jam do you have any suggestions. I am using winchester 22 longrifle .36 grain is that wrong?
  13. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

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    Have you tried different ammo? These little things love CCI MiniMags. Mine devours Federals without a problem as well, but I've also tweaked it a bit. There are improvements you can do to the extractor and extractor notch.
  14. Gavin

    Gavin New Member

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    Thnks for the tip i will try the different ammo and see how that works.
  15. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    As previously mentioned, J-22 quality was all over the map; but typically not very good to bad. I have never owned one that I did not have to "improve" for more reliable function.

    They run best on 40 grain CCI Mini-Mag. Next best on 40n grain Remington high velocity.
    The factory recommended CCI Stingers or Rem. H.V. This little pistol needs a lot of recoil (in relative terms) to cycle properly.
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